EPA head: Relationship with states never better

EPA head: Relationship with states never better
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Federal environmental regulators have never had a “better relationship” with states than they do now, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthyRegina (Gina) McCarthyOvernight Energy: Dems subpoena Perry in impeachment inquiry | EPA to overhaul rules on lead contamination tests | Commerce staff wrote statement rebuking weather service for contradicting Trump Hundreds of former EPA officials call for House probe, say agency's focus on California is politicized It's time for Congress to address the 'forever chemical' crisis MORE said Thursday, one day before a new regulation is expected to attract a bevy of lawsuits from state attorneys general. 

“I think EPA has, frankly, never had a better relationship, and more open, with the states, and more respectful of one another,” McCarthy said Thursday at a Center for American Progress event.

The Obama administration will formally publish the Clean Power Plan in the Federal Register on Friday, and more than a dozen states have already promised lawsuits. Several Republican governors are considering not complying with the rule, which requires that states cut their power sector carbon emissions.

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Several states have already butted heads with the EPA and many have looked to rebuff its rule-making this year. About 30 states sued against a rule expanding the agency’s regulatory power over waterways this summer. A federal court issued a nationwide injunction against the rule earlier this month.  

McCarthy was touting the EPA’s work with states on methane emissions limits for the natural gas sector. A handful of states have instituted methane rules, something the EPA proposed doing nationally in August.

But she also said the power plant rule is rooted in work states have already done in the energy sector.

“We’re not asking for anything to be done in the Clean Power Plan that hasn’t been fully demonstrated by states for decades,” she said. “How do you do energy efficiency, how do you do renewable energy?”

The methane rule — a regulation designed to encourage national gas operators to track and prevent emissions at their well sites — is also designed to help states, McCarthy said. Cutting down methane leaks will mean more natural gas hitting the market, which could, in turn, lead to more natural-gas-burning power plants. 

“We know that cleaner-burning energy sources like natural gas is going to be central to states as they implement the Clean Power Plan and as they transition to an increasingly lower carbon future, and we want to support these efforts going forward,” she said.